Every month I look through some of my favourite Instagram accounts to find a picture that will spark an idea for a short story. Some months are easier than others, this month it took quite some time, but when I saw the right picture, it stopped me in my tracks.
As always, there is no prep or drafting here, just a quick flash of fictitious words inspired by a beautiful image from the Instagram community. Let’s do this…
Looking at herself in the mirror, she noticed a change. There was something about the way her hair fell onto her collarbone that was different. Her face had no new features, but it seemed more… her.
There was a look in her eyes that she didn’t recognise. Determination. She blinked a few times, worried it might fall out along with sleep, but it stayed put. Her body felt settled, like it could never have been any other way. Her mind was clear, focused.
The fear that so often followed her around was missing. Instead there was a sense of peace and knowing.
She walked to her wardrobe with a frown – how should she dress this feeling? She found a pale linen dress that filled her with joy and paired it with a red head scarf and tan sandals.
Every breath she took felt intentional. Every movement was slow but exact and she realised she felt lighter. The self-doubt and uncertainty she wore around her neck like a sick trophy of womanhood was gone.
Back at the mirror she stretched in her new body, unfurling her limbs like petals.
She had spent years in the dark, making herself small, trying to please others. No more. The ringing words of her critics had been silenced.
Leaving the house, she took a deep breath of fresh air – it felt like the first time she ever drew breath. She noticed everything, from the butterfly landing on a nearby leaf to the dusty windows on the bus.
She wondered what her day would bring and how long this feeling would last. How long would it be until a comment hit her the wrong way? When would a lingering look make her want to retreat? Who would be the one to replace self-doubt around her neck? Or would she be the one to fasten the clasp?
She closed her eyes as a voice from inside spoke to her. It whispered words of encouragement, speaking of complexities and kindness. She opened her eyes and stepped off the bus into real life, feeling ready, enraged with hope and most of all – free.
Today I finished reading ‘Playing Big’ by Tara Mohr, and if you’ve read it too you can probably see where the inspiration for this story came from! I took so much from the book and feel like I’m going to go back over it with my highlighter and notebook to really hammer the messages home.
I would love to know when the last time you felt free and empowered was? What helps you feel like that?
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